Two strong trade union man walked out of the election hall in Kajiado, Kenya on Saturday (15 April), before the start of the long-awaited Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) elections.
Two strong trade union man walked out of the election hall in Kajiado, Kenya on Saturday (15 April), before the start of the long-awaited Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) elections. COTU Secretary-General Dennis Akumu and Juma Boy, General Secretary of the dockworkers' union, led a walkout of the All Workers Group, who oppose the Kenya United Group.
Elections went ahead after police cleared crowds outside the Ole Kejuado Country Hall, where the COTU meeting was being held. As a result of the walkout, members of the Kenya United Group were elected to all COTU offices, and there is speculation that such an outcome could cause trouble in the Kenya trade unions during the next few days.
SYNOPSIS: In the rift Valley province of Kenya, the long-awaited elections of the Central Organisation of Trade Unions, COTU, were held on Saturday. The venue of the polling site had been a stumbling block between the two major factions, the All Workers Group led by COTU Secretary-General Dennis Akumu, and the Kenya United Group led by COTU President James Karebe. Last week, the Kenya Commissioner of Labour chose Kajiado as the election site, and both sites agreed. The announcement broke the tense atmosphere among the rivalling groups within the COTU leadership. As the leaders gathered for the election, candidates received last minute support from some members. This is Sammy Muhanji of the Kenya a United group.
The reason for what happened next is not clear, but Juma Boy, head of the strong dockworkers' union, and Dennis Akumu, leader of the All Workers Group, walked out before the election started. They claimed they could not support the elections and argued with other COTU officials outside the election hall. But they were told that the elections would go on whether or not they attended.
As a preventive measure a strong contingent of police and members of the General Service Unit, GSU, had been called to stand by. They were ordered to clear the area of all those persons not directly concerned with the elections inside.
The result was a clean sweep for the Kenya United Group. The two top offices, that of President General and Secretary General, were won by Ja???es Karebe and Sammy Muhanji respectively. Although members of the Kenya United Group were given to great rejoicing because of the outcome, there is speculation that there could be trouble in the Kenya trade unions over the next few days. The All Workers Group steadfastly refuses to accept the election results.